Many people around the country are likely aware of some of the deadly fires that claimed lives and property in California in 2017 and 2018. This has caused insurance costs to soar for some homeowners.

Insurance claims related to wildfires that swept through the state in November 2018 are the costliest in state history at more than $12 billion. Prior to that, the highest costs were in connection with wildfires in late 2017. Those led to insurance claims of over $11.8 billion. According to California's insurance commissioner, the department has been keeping records of policies that were not renewed to assess where this tends to be happening. A representative from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association says that insurers remain committed to working in the state, which is one of its largest markets. Insurers are required by California law to notify people as to what their other options are if they refuse to renew a policy.

The state is dealing with other fiscal issues relating to the wildfires as well. Even if utilities are not negligent, if their equipment caused a wildfire, they can be held financially liable. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, the largest utility in California, has filed for bankruptcy as a result.

While people in other states may not face some of these widespread issues with insurers refusing to renew policies, they might still have problems with companies rejecting fire insurance claims. This can be devastating for a family or individual who is reliant on compensation after a fire to replace necessities. An attorney may be able to assist by negotiating with the insurance company or with appeals.

Source: Time, "Insurance Claims From Deadly California Fires Are the Most Expensive in the State's History", Kathleen Ronayne, May 8, 2019

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